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How to Choose the Right CRM Software for Your Business?

The software industry is a competitive space. There is an overwhelming number of products to choose from, and it can be challenging to figure out which one will work best for your business needs. 

This blog post will help you make the right decision when choosing CRM software that’s perfect for your company!    

It can be challenging to choose the right CRM software for your business. There are so many options, and you might not know what will work best for your needs. That’s why I’ve put together this handy guide on how to find a CRM solution that suits your company’s unique needs. 

We’ll go over some factors you should consider before making a selection, as well as reviews of some popular options on the market today. Let’s start by looking at what CRM means and why you need it in the first place… 

Why – In Order!

The first thing you need to ask yourself is why do you need CRM software? 

But don’t just know your reasons; you have to also put them in the order of importance for you and your business.

Here are some of your reasons – in random order:

  • Track Customer Base
  • Manage Relationships
  • Offer Connectivity between teams
  • Increase productivity
  • Increase profitability
  • Track Leads and their activity
  • Track Opportunities and Closing Rates
  • Organize Business Operations

Determine the Problem You’re Trying to Solve

Every business has its reasons for looking for CRM software. However, since there are many different ways to use CRM, you need to determine the exact benefit you hope it will have for your particular business before you even begin looking at providers.

In a phone interview with Small Business Trends, Brent Leary, the co-founder of CRM Essentials, said, “Every business has its specific challenges. So the best thing a company can do is have a very detailed understanding of what their main challenge is and what it would take to make sure that they can answer that challenge in a way that allows them to stay true to the way they want to. Engage with customers.”

Your business requirements will drive your choice. Start by asking yourself questions like what challenges you currently face and the processes you would like to automate. 

You will need to picture your sales process far into the future so that your CRM fits even when your business grows. 

However, there are a few basic features that every CRM should have to build a foundation for your sales process. 

  • Pipeline management to give you a quick visualization of your sales funnel. In addition, it will provide a clear insight into how your leads are progressing from one stage to another. 
  • You should be able to collect and store all your customer-related information in one place. Besides, it should allow you to search through your contacts using filters. 
  • The software should give you a detailed report on the progress of your sales department and how they are performing. 

CRM Options for Sales Process

Besides the above basic features, different types of organizations have additional requirements. For instance, nonprofits and NGOs will need sales CRM features to manage fundraising events, track memberships, and volunteers, etc. Whereas an eCommerce store will be benefited more from marketing and sales automation that provides help desk management, quotes management, email marketing, and more. 

Don’t Just Choose the Biggest Name.

We caution against choosing the first provider that you hear other companies talking about or whoever is offering the best deal at the moment. 

Since each company’s situation is different, another company’s satisfaction with their provider doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good fit for you.

The most important thing one should understand is that every organization’s need differs; hence, purchasing CRM software purchased by others may not be able to solve your problems. 

Also, people tend to go behind the most prominent name. Without proper analysis, do not end up buying a CRM software just because it had a deal or it was said to be suitable by others. We need first to understand the software’s features and find out whether it will fit our business, only then make a move to purchase it.

Some organizations choose CRM software based on its cost. The software might be cheap and will have almost all the essential features for that particular business. But later on, when the business grows, they would require to change the CRM software. 

This is a time-consuming procedure as the implementation has to be done again, the data must be transferred, and proper training must be provided to use it. To avoid such hassles, plan initially by foreseeing your business and your goals. 

It is not a wise decision to change the software as and when your business grows. However, do understand that people/employees will be reluctant to change. In sightly is a scalable CRM software; hence it grows with your business.

Find a Solution that Can Solve Your Problem

When choosing the right CRM, you need to focus on the problem you want your CRM software to solve – and make sure that you keep that in mind during your entire search and evaluation process.

Create a Checklist of Necessary Features

We also suggest that businesses make a checklist of all the essential features to help you solve your challenge. For example, if your business is focused on improving marketing efforts, you should look for features that can help you improve lead generation and initial contact with potential customers.

If you’re looking to improve sales conversion, you could look at features that are more likely to help you prioritize customers that are likely to buy.

Choose a Program that Allows You to Customize Communications

CRM Customer Communications

Regardless of your main challenge, every business has customers at different stages of the buying process. So when choosing the right CRM, you need to find one that will let you customize different communication strategies for other customers based on your particular methods and needs.

Look for Features that Prioritize Communication

Part of that customization means categorizing customers so that you can send other communications to those who are ready to buy and those who may need some more nurturing. Look into how each provider categorizes leads and make sure it’s a method that works for your customer base.

Find a Program that Will Save You Time

One of the most significant benefits of having a CRM program in the first place is its ability to save you time on customer communication. So make sure that your choice is going to accomplish that goal.

Automate When Necessary

A great time-saving feature of many CRM programs is automation. For example, Infusionsoft offers a CRM service that automates communication with leads who may need more time and nurturing to decide while allowing salespeople to focus more of their actual time on people who are ready to buy or need questions answered.

In an exclusive interview with Small Business Trends, Tyler Zeman, product marketing manager for Infusionsoft, said that this is one of the features small businesses don’t often think about when choosing the right CRM provider. But it’s one that Infusionsoft’s current customers appreciate once they get the chance to use it.

Always Keep Conversion in Mind

Every business wants to make more sales. So even if your business’s unique challenge is in another area of CRM, you should consider how those improvements might impact your overall sales. And put a higher emphasis on features that are likely to impact sales positively.

Find a Program that Works Quickly

The timing of your communication can make a big difference in your lead nurturing and sales conversions. So you want software that can qualify leads and determine the right communication strategy very quickly.

Look Into Analytical Features

But you also want to find an intelligent program. For example, some programs can give you insights into your activities by making sure that you contact leads regularly and finding any irregularities in communications that you may need to be aware of.

Ensure You’re Able to Navigate the Software

CRM Ease in Navigation

You’ll also need to make sure that your choice of software is something you and your team can easily set up and use. If it’s overly complicated to navigate, then some of the time-saving benefits will be negated.

Your business requirements will drive your choice. Start by asking yourself questions like what challenges you currently face and the processes you would like to automate. 

You will need to picture your sales process far into the future so that your CRM fits even when your business grows. 

Besides the above basic features, different types of organizations have additional requirements. For instance, nonprofits and NGOs will need sales CRM features to manage fundraising events, track memberships, and volunteers, etc. 

Whereas an eCommerce store will benefit more from marketing and sales automation that provides help desk management, quotes management, email marketing, and more. 

Hear Your Sales Team’s Opinion

As the sales director, the final decision of choosing a sales CRM will rest with you. 

However, it’s wise to get your salespeople involved. Consult with them on the features that they need to perform their tasks more efficiently. It would help if you also discussed other areas of your organization, such as marketing, customer service, and more, before making your final choice. 

Their inputs on processes that need improvements and other pain points will help you get the best CRM software for your needs. 

With more information in hand, you will be able to make the right choice. Plus, when your team will get to experience the new CRM themselves, they will be a little quicker in adopting the latest technology. After all, it will help fill the gaps in their sales processes. 

So always remember, it’s too easy to decide based on what you think your team wants. But not involving your team will only cause trouble in the future as the business starts to expand. 

Read Reviews and Get Expert Advice

Reading reviews can help you make a wiser choice. However, it should be impartial if you want to test its credibility. But, how do you know that those reviews aren’t fake? 

The internet is full of fake reviews that can mislead any consumer. So, it would be best if you always were sure of your sources before you read the reviews. Look out for trusted media outlets and websites that provide unbiased reviews.

These reviews will give you a brief idea about the vendors with the best customer service and other essential features. In addition, you will get a better insight into how other customers are using those tools and how it is helping them solve their problems. 

The next thing to do is taking advice from the experts in that field. There are a few consultant companies that have experts to offer solutions to your problems. These experts assess all aspects of your business needs, financial budget, and other resources to help you reach a decision. 

They focus on your needs rather than having a hard-sell attitude. With some research, you can easily find the name of the top producers of the product in the market. 

Talk to the Vendor or Software Company

Talk to CRM Vendor

You must be thinking why. First, the vendor is as important as the software itself because you will be relying on them for customer support. 

Even after you have purchased the software, you will require their help as long as you are using the software. 

Another reason is that they will help you better understand how their tool fits your needs.

So when you talk to them, you must ask a few questions that will help you decide. Ask them about any issues you found while doing your research, their average results, the industry they serve, and more. 

Besides, the software company should provide product training through in-house seminars on how to use the product. Check whether the vendor offers product documentation, how-to’s, tutorials, answers to FAQs, and guides.

Determine the Challenge

There will be the reason why an organization is looking for CRM software. The first one needs to do, is to identify and determine the problems and challenges they are facing and understand the benefits they are expecting from such software. Only if you have a clear idea of the challenges will you make a wise decision. Secondly, evaluate the CRM software’s keeping in mind the problem you are trying to solve. Finally, choose the software that can better solve your issues.

A checklist is required.

We need to make a note of all our requirements and the features required. It is suggested to create a checklist of the necessary components required for the organization, to be clear on what you want and not miss out on anything important. 

Choose a CRM software keeping in mind your organizational goals and future aims. The software you are investing in should take you, thereby helping you in your business.

Communication is the core.

Proper communication at the right time is vital to retain, attract and generate customers. Hence due importance has to be given to the communication features while selecting CRM Software.

Specific software provides the feature of recording the customer’s conversations to be used for future reference. Also, other features like calling a customer with a single click, enabling conference calls, etc., will be of great help. Find out which part are you are exactly looking for and then include it in your software.

Time is a constraint.

Time is limited, and we have plenty to finish. Keeping this in mind, find software that can reduce tedious tasks by saving time. Be it customer communication or marketing, or data analysis, if the software can help us keep our time, go for that. Things will be much easier, and we will get extra time to utilize for other productive purposes. Like time, speed also has an impact on your business. How quickly you can respond to your customers’ matters.

User-friendly Software

User-friendly CRM Software

While choosing a CRM software for your business, make sure to select a user-friendly one so that less time is required in training the employees and management. 

If you choose complicated software, a lot of time will be wasted on understanding and using the software. Moreover, the very purpose of implementing CRM software will be destroyed by getting a complicated one.

Vendor Analysis

By purchasing CRM software, you are establishing a long-term relationship with the vendor. Hence a proper analysis of the vendor is also required. Before choosing a vendor, one needs to understand the delivery methods, pricing models, upgrades provided, services offered, interaction, and engagement. Then, go for the vendors that can provide you with quality customer service.

Integration & Customization, if Required

Be clear from the beginning about your needs, and try to integrate the existing programs, if any required, with the new CRM software. 

Make sure to check on the compatibility of the new software with the existing programs. Also, have a proper analysis of the other applications and programs provided by CRM providers. If interested in any, you can have the option of integrating it with the CRM software. 

Another essential thing to be understood is how far you can customize the software, especially when it comes to reporting, communicating, marketing, management, etc. Therefore, it is always advisable to go for software customized according to your changing needs.

Understand the type of the business

Large enterprises will be investing a lot in CRM software by customizing it as they will benefit from it and are capable of doing it. On the other hand, small and medium scale industries do not need all the features used by large-scale enterprises. 

To understand your requirements and your business before choosing and customizing a CRM software. Some software available in the market is specially designed to meet the needs of small-scale enterprises. This article will help you to find the best CRM software for SME business:

Look for hidden costs: Try to understand all the costs associated with the software you intend to purchase.

Some providers offer pricing models that may be appealing, although they might be charging in excess. 

Ask the provider whether, in addition to the cost of the software, there will be any additional fee such as set up fee or implementation fee, some software’s charge extra for providing 24/7 assistance. Also, check on the additional payment you will incur when you have to add new staff.

Determine the price model

Choose a price model that best fits you. For example, some providers offer monthly payment options, which will be helpful from a company point of view, whereas some providers need a significant portion upfront. 

Considering the payment options is essential as paying a bulk amount upfront will not be advisable for small-scale industries. There are specific CRM software like SalesForce which is offered free of cost for all users. Based on your cash availability, select the best payment option that suits you.

Look for Assistance

CRM Customer Assistance

It is always better to go for the service provider which provides 24/7 assistance so that you can contact them as and when required. 

You need to ensure whether customer service representatives are available when you need help or there is a long turnaround period before purchasing CRM software. Some software’s charge you extra for 24/7 assistance. 

Security measures

You need to have a thorough check on your business and customer data in the CRM software. A clear understanding of the types of security features and measures provided is essential. Proper data backup with easy retrieval is also required. All these will have a positive impact on your business.

Understand the Limitations of the Software: Last but not least, one should also have a clear idea of the limitations of the software they will purchase along with its advantages. We need to know how far we can customize the software, the service provided, or other possible limitations associated with the software. Knowing it in advance helps us to change our decision if required.

Take the Free Trial

The final stage for choosing a sales CRM software involves trying the software yourself before buying. Most of the leading CRM vendors offer a free trial of their software. Some of them even give you a one-on-one demonstration of their product. 

This free trial is an opportunity for you to decide how you feel about the software. You can test whether the software has an intuitive interface as it claims to be. The best part is that you don’t have to pay a single penny to see if the software matches your needs and expectations. 

If you like it, you can always pay the vendor and get it fully implemented. And in case you didn’t, you can always try out the following software from your list. 

About Us

Focus on Force is the ideal preparation for your Salesforce Certification. I’ve spent more than 10 years working with the Salesforce platform in various roles (including business analyst, project manager, consultant, solutions designer, and solutions architect), and worked my way through 12 certifications in order to move up the career ladder. 

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